By now it is hard not to be aware of the environmental problems attached to travel, particularly when that travel involves some form of air journey. Fuel emissions in the upper atmosphere hurt the ozone layer more directly than those on the ground – a London to New York return flight produces more carbon dioxide per passenger than the average British motorist produces in 12 months!
Other concerns to do with buying a holiday is that we are now blessed with so many options – with the package holiday in mind we should be aware that whatever we’re paying out is most likely to work out as a huge profit to the tour or package operator with little of the huge sum we pay going to those on the ground who actually provide the services when we get there. Package holidays are very easy but will be treated to a manufactured sense of the place you’re visiting and therefore true cultural contact will be minimal.
- Think about what you want from a holiday, and whether you are willing to perpetuate lifestyles forced on people in foreign lands because of the tourism industry.
- You may want to holiday a little closer to home, instead of flying to Sydney twice a year.
- You could, of course, offset your carbon emissions by paying donations to environmental organisations such as Future Forests (www.futureforests.com) and Climate Care (www.climatecare.org) or Carbon Storage Trust. This way you pay to readjust the imbalance of carbon caused by your emissions by having new trees planted to soak up the extra carbon, though of course this is not the same as not going on the journey in the first place!
- Read up on the issues involved – it’s all very well me telling you how to behave but it can sound quite preachy when delivered by a stranger. If you make the effort to find out, the information you discover may be more personal to you and have a greater effect on the life choices you make.
- If you’re going to a country where English is not the first language, try to learn a few phrases – the locals will love it, and it shows a different side to the same old ‘bloody foreigner’ image that we’re given when we as Brits travel abroad. Even if you just learn ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ or ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’ the cultural barrier will have broken a little.
- Try not to hang around other Brits all the time, make the effort to mingle with locals and get a sample for what local life is really all about. You’ll find that you’ll gain a greater appreciation for their customs and probably will be able to gain a bit of their respect for not being a typical ignorant British tourist.
See also Tips for greener travel – an article providing information about how when travelling you can reduce your carbon footprint.